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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

IATEFL - Extensive Reading Foundation Reception and Awards Ceremony

My readers will have to excuse the lack of 'techy tools' in my next couple of posts. I will be commenting on videos and interviews from IATEFL Glasgow this week and will therefore not be posting about 'tool' examples as usual.

I Am listening to Jeremy Harmer's session "Extensive Reading Foundation Reception and Awards Ceremony". Jeremy is talking about how important it is to use reading as a tool for language learning and language improvement. I couldn't agree more. It's taking me back to the memory of my 6th grade teacher who first got me interested in reading. For the last 30 minutes of each school day, she used to turn off the lights and tell us to rest our heads on our desks as she proceeded to read the entire book of 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R. Tolkien. It was wonderful and magical and I'm convinced that my love of reading stems from this experience. Getting our students interested in reading anything in a language which is not their mother-tongue is definitely a challenging task. Sure we have the obligatory readers which they must read as part of their course work; however reading for FUN is not generally something that language students do on their own. One of the award-winners mentioned that when writing for non-native speakers, stories must be both SATISFYING and ENGAGING. I also totally agree with this point, however, I know that it's also very difficult nowadays to engage our learners in words printed out in paper-form, non-three-dimensional with no words or images jumping out and spinning around in circles just to entertain them! I feel that it’s my duty as a language teacher to really make them ENJOY the books that they HAVE to read. In fact, just today I was reading out the first two chapters of ‘The Mummy’ to my 3rd Eso students (14-year olds). I knew that if I simply put the cd on for them to listen to or asked them to silently read the chapters on their own, their interest would quickly dwindle. I read it to them as my 6th-grade teacher had read to me, along with a few personalized ‘extras’ such as keywords written on the board and a theatrical me starring as Anck Su Namun stabbing herself in order to save her lover Imhotep! (They’ll never forget what the word stab means again!) I’m getting off track but my point is that reading really does have to be engaging and even more so in the case of non-native language learners. I congratulate all writers of books and readers for EFL learners as I know that it really is no easy task.

To my surprise, one of the award-winners was Tim Vicary. I’m not surprised that he won an award. I’m surprised at the coincidence that I had just recently finished an online interactive activity site for his book ‘The Elephant Man’. It was nice putting a ‘live’ face to the book!

And last but certainly not least, I had the privilege of watching the dear Robert O’Neill as he so truthfully spoke about… I’m not quite sure what! He impressed us all so much with the couple of loud F-words that left his mouth that even Jeremy Harmer was left speechless! Very amusing to see, and hear!

The message I leave you all with; READ!!!


  1. I have enjoyed your article, Sue, so true! Un petó

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